The Salt Lake Community College Fashion Institute participated in Earth Day activities by organizing the a special fashion show April 19 at Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Fashion Institute students and faculty used excess fabric to design and create all of the clothing for the Sustainable Fashion Show, which was held in the Oak Room. Adjunct fashion professor Amy Royer spearheaded the effort to illustrate how people can incorporate sustainable fashion into their own lives.
Before the models took to the runway, a slideshow was presented to the audience with some facts about how clothing affects the environment. One slide stated that according to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year.
With this in mind, Royer and her students went to work, upcycling materials of all colors and sizes to create renewable apparel, including a former curtain that gained new life as a long, floor-sweeping jacket.
Another dress was made out of 200 dryer sheets, which represented half of the laundry that the average American household washes each year. Washing not only wears down clothes and creates waste through textiles, but uses up to 12,000 gallons of water annually.
There are also 200,000 tons of synthetic dyes discarded into sewage and discharged into rivers, lakes, and seas by the textile industry. Part of the sustainability aspect of the show was to use only organic dyes made of fruit and vegetable juices.
Converting scraps into derby shorts
Royer has been teaching at SLCC for over five years, with a focus on sustainability starting two years ago. She has also been skating with The Beehive Skate Revolution derby team for the past three years.
While she was looking over fabric scraps to create pieces for the show, Foyer thought the small pieces would be perfect to make costume shorts for the derby team. She assembled all the designs for the derby outfits, which were modeled by her teammates during the second half of the fashion show.
Derby girl Katherine “Allocate” Wilson says a big part of the derby community is sharing what is no longer needed; instead of donating to charities, the community members will get together to find new homes for their used items.
Fellow derby girl Kimberly “Kittenbottom” Higginson adds that sustainability is a big part of the derby culture.
“Everyone is so free with their stuff … we do a lot of reusing and recycling,” Higginson says.
Visit the SLCC Fashion Institute to learn more about upcoming fashion shows and related events.